Monitoring Report March 2017
Remapping the world
As stormy as the year 2016 ended for world politics and Israel, it doesn’t look like the storm will abate going into 2017 - at least at this point in time. In a desperate, last-ditch closing act, the Obama Administration invested great effort in the attempt to chisel its foreign policy convictions regarding the Middle East peace process in stone – thereby bypassing the will of the American people and the democratically elected US-Congress. To do that, Obama used the same back-road detour he used to push the Iran deal through, the UN Security Council. UNSC resolution 2334 established one single guilty party for the lack of peace – the State of Israel and Israeli settlements in Judea, Samaria and in East Jerusalem. The resolution declared the settlements to be “illegal according to international law” – a step that drew sharp criticism across the political spectrum in Israel as well as from the newly elected, but not yet sworn-in President-elect Donald Trump. The USA withholding its veto and simply abstaining in this vote marked a significant shift in American policy and position up to that point. (http://www.unwatch.org/joining-jackals-open-letter-amb-samantha-power/)
Germany’s Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier accepted the position of the resolution at the Peace Conference held in Paris on January 15th, 2017 – ignoring all the criticism from Israel and Great Britain’s newly appointed Prime Minister, Theresa May. In the interest of working out a strong post-Brexit trade deal with the USA under Trump’s leadership, Britain sent only a low-level delegation to Paris. Britain did not sign the Conference Protocol and thus, together with Hungary and a few Baltic states, stopped the resolution from being implemented into the Council of the EU.
The UN must Change
The number of new appointments to influential world-political positions during this time period which are important for Israel is impressive. Besides May and Trump, the former Prime Minister of Portugal, António Guterres was elected as the new UNO-General Secretary and sworn-in in December. Guterres, as soon as he took office, quickly and clearly distanced himself from any post-factual decision of UNESCO which would make the reprehensible attempt to redefine history with the claim that Jerusalem is a purely Muslim city without any meaning for Jews, Judaism or the State of Israel.
His statements, that it was completely clear, “that the temple, destroyed by the Romans in Jerusalem, was the Jewish temple”, and that no one could deny the fact that, “today, Jerusalem is a holy city for three religions, including Judaism” (http://www.jta.org/2017/01/30/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/palestinians-demand-apology-after-new-un-chief-says-temple-mount-was-home-to-jewish-temple) drew sharp protests from the Palestinian delegation – as was to be expected. But the statements were also an indication that the new UN establishment is obviously aware of and reacting to the new winds that have been blowing worldwide since Donald J. Trump took office as President of the USA.
The fact that some things must change in the UN in its relationship to Israel was also made abundantly clear by the new US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, in her first press conference after a meeting of the UN Security Council – a press conference very well worth watching! The days of the UN being able to unfairly discriminate against, criticize and mistreat the State of Israel with impunity seem to be numbered. (https://usun.state.gov/remarks/7678)
A law proposed by US Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham threatening the UN openly with the loss of the USA’s substantial financial support unless the UNSR Resolution 2334 is revoked and removed goes in the same direction. (https://www.lgraham.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2017/1/graham-and-cruz-introduce-bill-to-cut-off-funding-to-un-for-treatment-of-israel)